Black community leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, on Tuesday demanded the removal of the prosecutor from the case involving a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who is accused of murdering a black 18-year-old teen on August 9, an incident that triggered days of civil unrest, riots, looting and violence in St. Louis suburb, according to a police source closely following the case.
The family of the departed, through their attorney, and several black leaders of sorts claim that the St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch should not be involved in prosecuting Officer Wilson beginning with the presentation of the case to the grand jury in order to garner an indictment against the cop, said a former prosecutor's office detective investigator, Samuel Munschen.
The community leaders of the predominately black Ferguson are claiming that McCulloch has deep ties to law enforcement. According to them, McCulloch's father was a police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, who was allegedly killed by a black suspect. In addition, his mother, brother, uncle, and cousin all work for the St. Louis Police Department.
"It's not an unusual situation. Many prosecutors and police officers come from families whose members are involved in law enforcement careers one way or another. For instance, my brother is a former prosecutor, my uncle a former police detective, one cousin is with the FBI, while another is with the New York city police. Does that mean we can't be involved in investigating a police shooting incident?" asks Munschen.
Missouri's Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon stated without delay that he won't request the removal of the county prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the fatal police shooting nor will he advise McCulloch to recuse himself from the case. However, Nixon did mention that should McCulloch remove himself from the case, a special prosecutor will be appointed.
Like Nixon, McCulloch is a Democrat who was elected county prosecutor more than 20-years ago. Nixon and local news reporters say McCulloch is known for his "tough on crime" approach.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday Gov. Nixon's office released a statement and video about the Ferguson shooting and its aftermath.
“Ten days ago, a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, in broad daylight. Since then, the world has watched a community become engulfed in grief, anger, fear and at times violence," Nixon said in the video..
"For a family mourning the loss of a son, it has been a profound personal tragedy. For Ferguson and our entire nation, it has ripped open old wounds that have festered for generations, and exposed difficult issues that communities across our country must still resolve," he said.
Nixon then announced the expected arrival of Attorney General Eric Holder: "The democratically elected St. Louis County prosecutor and the Attorney General of the United States, each have a job to do. Their obligation to achieve justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown must be carried out thoroughly, promptly, and correctly; and I call upon them to meet those expectations."
While some believe Holder's arrival is an photo opportunity for all concerned since the governor, mayor, prosecutor and majority of city council members are all Democrats, others believe Holder's opinions on race are anachronistic and divisive and expect to watch him take sides in the controversy as many say Missouri Highway Patrol's Capt. Ron Johnson did on Sunday during a speech.
Even before Holder's arrival on Wednesday, the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wasted no time beginning its own civil-rights investigation that will include yet a third autopsy, although Brown's body has already been embalmed by a local funeral home.